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Youngsters thrive in salmon sector

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Over third of the people directly employed in Scotland’s salmon farming sector are under the age of 30, according to a report released today.

Young people in salmon farming 2018, published by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), shows that 710 people under 30 – representing about a third of the workforce – are employed in the salmon farming sector.

Future leaders: six up-and-coming salmon farmers with Fergus Ewing, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, at the launch of the publication in Holyrood

The majority of these work in the Highlands and Islands and, while many are employed on the farms, others are involved in engineering, veterinary services, processing, sales and marketing, HR and research.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the SSPO, welcomed the findings in the introduction to the report, saying: “For the salmon farming sector, these young people are vital employees, keeping the workforce growing and embracing new ideas and new technologies. They can work their way up the career ladder to become the managers of the future.

“Young people join salmon farming companies straight from school, after college or as graduates. For them, their work offers a well-paid, sustainable career path through on-the-job skills training, Modern Apprenticeships, National Progression Awards and graduate training.

“The chance for young people to live and work in the rural areas they were brought up in is very important. As a result, salmon farming companies often have several generations from the same family as loyal employees.

“Salmon farming companies have become house builders and telecoms advocates, supporting local community initiatives and schools to help all their workers, especially the young, find suitable modern facilities in the remote areas where they work.”

The sector works closely with many organisations like Lantra, Skills Development Scotland, North Atlantic Fisheries College, Inverness College, the Institute of Aquaculture and others to offer as many development opportunities as possible to young people interested in a career in aquaculture.

The SSPO report features case studies of some of the young people employed in the sector who describe their jobs and the opportunities that working in salmon farming offers them.